Home is where the Heart is:Facebook and the Negotiation of "Old" and "New" During the Transition to College

Jenna Stephenson-Abetz, Amanda Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


This study adopts a dialectical perspective to explore how students transitioning to college communicatively negotiate the web of old and new relationships in the age of Facebook. Interpretive thematic analysis of 30 interviews revealed three discursive struggles: preservation and (re)invention, uniqueness and conformity, and openness and closedness. With time and space no longer inhibiting a connection to all the people in our relational lives, college students must make sense of the possibility for new senses of self when connected to "home" in a way previous generations never experienced. The contradictions present in the participants' voices illuminate the ways in which wider cultural discourses that construct college as a time of separation and independence enable and constrain students' understandings of their own emerging adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-193
Number of pages19
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

Cite this